This Sunday, North American television watchers will at last have a chance to watch American playwright Larry Kramer’s pioneering work on AIDS – an adaptation for Home Box Office of his blistering 1980s play The Normal Heart.
When it was first staged the play was a timely and angry indictment of government, the media and the public for failing to recognize the gravity of the unfolding crisis — a j’accuse that could not be ignored. Today, writes critic, author and F&O feature writer Brian Brennan, the work has the air of a documentary – and remains just as relevant. An excerpt of Brennan’s story:
After almost 30 years of seeking Hollywood’s attention, New York playwright Larry Kramer has finally gotten his wish. A film adaptation of his 1985 AIDS-crisis drama, The Normal Heart, will be shown Sun. May 25 on HBO in Canada and the United States. It stars Mark Ruffalo, Julia Roberts and Taylor Kitsch.
The drama is deeply rooted in Kramer’s own experience as a gay rights activist during the years, 1981-84, when the authorities looked the other way while a mysterious disease — never identified before — began to claim hundreds of lives. The playwright’s angry indictment of government, the media and the public for failing to recognize the gravity of the unfolding crisis made the play a j’accuse that could not be ignored.
A co-founder of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis in New York in 1982, Kramer was edged out of the advocacy organization a year later for — in his word — “merchandizing” the AIDS epidemic in mainstream magazines and newspapers across North America … read more*
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